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How to ace your accounting in 2019!

Just filed your tax return? Vowing to be more 'on it' this year? No idea where to start? Me neither.But don't panic, because we've made friends with two women who are making finance...err, fun! Wanna meet them?

wooden table coffee laptop

On one gorgeous mid-week evening towards the end of summer last year (remember those balmy days, eh?), I popped to the Turtley Corn Mill at Avonwick (which, by the way, is totally worth a visit if you’re in the area, especially if it’s warm enough to sit in the garden). I was due to meet two ladies for a sneaky glass of wine, who reckoned they were about to shake up and bring a little sparkle to the world of – wait for it – accountancy.

Seriously, I was as sceptical as you probably are about the idea of making spreadsheets and numbers sexy (and we’re not talking about mastering writing “boobs” on a calculator here *eye roll*);  but, since I’ve been through my own version of accounting Hell on more than one occasion (usually every January, as it happens),  I was intrigued and, you know what? It turns out that friends Charlotte and Josie are already acing it with their new venture Woolston Accounts. I very quickly warmed to these two and their approach to what is, for so many of us, just too mind-boggling to be faffed with.

black and white profile shots of women

Josie and Charlotte

Why? Well, several reasons, actually. For starters, there’s nothing remotely stiff and corporate behind this brand, which is a relief if, like me, figures frighten the heck out of you. Charlotte, with her accountancy background, working with some of the areas top businesses, brings a fresher, down-to-earth perspective to all those tasks that so many of us perceive to be mundane – tax returns, bookkeeping, VAT, payroll and the list goes on. Which, God knows, we need. There are so many words in the glossary of accounting that make me want to run a mile, but I wouldn’t be afraid to admit that to Charlotte.  Just as she’s quite comfortable admitting that she has a bit of a thing for spreadsheets, order and systems (I bet her home office is a sight to behold). Meanwhile, her partner Josie is embracing the social media side, offering brands and individuals her expertise across all the platforms. If their Insta feed is anything to go by, being both pretty and useful, (check out ‘top tip Tuesday’s’ for instance, where you’ll pick up loads of useful info), then she’s a keeper.

calculator invoices wooden table

But on a personal note, they’re women – and mums – who get that the juggle is a struggle! I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself feeling anxious about speaking to accountant-types in the past, feeling like a naughty schoolgirl for not properly filing my expenses, or keeping on top of things. Not so here – they’re real people who identify with so many of us with fluctuating workloads and ever-changing priorities and want to be able to offer as much, or as little support as each individual needs. Plus, they’re just nice people, who like having a good relationship with clients, which goes beyond a periodic formal letter on headed paper and often involves a giggle. Amen to that.

Having decided to ditch working for other people and go into business together from their little patch near the south coast and Kingsbridge, Charlotte and Josie are also doing an awesome job selling the dream of living, working and parenting, in Devon, while they’re at it. Which is why I thought a fun way to get you more acquainted with them both would be to pose a few Muddy quick-fire questions about work, life and fun in their part of the world.  See for yourself – and then, if you’ve resolved to make 2019 the year to get organised, whether you’re a business, or flying solo, give them a bell!

So ladies, what are the best things about working in Devon (as if we didn’t know)?

Charlotte: Without a doubt, it’s the fact that we can enjoy a much more relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, compared to the hustle and bustle of city life. Being able to pop out to the beach on a quiet day, or after work sounds idyllic, but it’s actually a reality for us, which is pretty cool [jealous, much?]!

There must be perks working for yourselves, that you maybe wouldn’t enjoy working for someone else? 

Working our own hours is the biggest benefit. Yes the children are in childcare and pre-school, however those inevitable sick days aren’t a problem as we can always be free; if they have a nativity we can always attend; if there was a particular event on somewhere we love, we would drop the work, and go off on a girly day for a treat!

How do you manage to balance work life and being a mum?

C: One word: ORGANISATION! Every day is a juggle, so prioritising and planning workloads are key, to make sure we get quality time with the family. Don’t get us wrong, we always have those busy weeks where we feel guilty about not spending enough time with the kids, but then you just have to make sure that next week is more family oriented, get some games out, or go for a nice walk somewhere – take a day off!

What’s your go-to stress reliever, for when you want to face-plant the desk! [asking for a friend]

Charlotte: I LOVE Game of Thrones and reality TV! Once little one is in bed of an evening, I try to forget about work and immerse myself into some easy watching. If it’s a daytime requirement, then there’s nothing better than rounding up the family and crazy dog and going for a walk.

Josie: I like nothing more than getting lost down the rabbit hole of Instagram, searching out interior inspiration. Or, mooching around Ikea often does the trick, now that we finally have one in Devon!

Favourite coffee spot? Because we love coffee.

cafe exterior

Photo: Nick Clements

Both: The Curator Cafe in Totnes [Muddy seconds this with a big fat thumbs up]. They get their coffee beans from Italy and they are amazing! You’ll find it at the bottom of the main street, just around the corner.

Favourite walk?

sea sun coastline

Gara Rock, at Christmas. Those views!

Both: Gara Rock has some of the best views, and a cafe for a post-walk hot chocolate warmer. [Muddy visited the absolutely gorgeous Gara Rock Hotel over Christmas, following its re-design in 2018, which is perfect for cosy sessions reading the papers, after a bracing walk along the coast path – a bit off the beaten track, but a must-visit for some dreamy views!]

Best recent indie discovery?

Josie: If you’re into film, the restored Totnes cinema is so worth a visit. Run as a social enterprise, it’s a real throwback to the glory days of ‘going to the pictures’, showing both old classics and new films and is a really nostalgic experience.

Favourite family-friendly spot?

sea boats blue sky

Salcombe

Josie: Our favourite place to eat with the kids is the pirate-themed restaurant Captain Flints in Salcombe, where all menu items are named after Treasure Island characters or similar, they are about as family friendly as it gets! Expect for your baby to be cuddled by Jane and meanwhile the food and cocktails are delicious. Josie recommends a Long John Silver, whilst I’m partial to a George Merry. Tip: Get there 15 minutes before opening time to save waiting too long, as this place is in hot demand.

If someone is coming to see you in Loddiswell – they may as well make a day of it, right? 

pink shop exterior

Salcombe

Charlotte: Yes! Salcombe is an obvious choice to direct our clients to.  You can mooch around the quirky boutiques for an hour or two, or go for coffee, but Josie recently discovered that you can also do a murder mystery treasure hunt from the Tourist Information, which is fun for kids and adults. If you’re into walking, then you could always tag on a ferry trip across to East Portlemouth and walk the coastline to Gara Rock. [see, you never need dread a trip to see your accountant again!]

 

Do you have any burning accounting, or life admin questions that you could do with some advice on? Drop your comment in the box below and I’ll see what I can do!

woolstonaccounts.co.uk

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